Scott McLaughlin has taken victory in a drama-filled opening race of the Supercars Championship round at Winton Raceway, which saw he and DJR Team Penske teammate Fabian Coulthard make contact during the opening lap.
The two Ford Mustangs came together at Turn 5, leading to both cars running off into the infield. The contact – triggered by Coulthard clipping the back of McLaughlin – saw the former drop to 23rd position. McLaughlin, however, took a shortcut across the infield to the exit of Turn 8 and slotted back into the third place he’d held before the nudge from Coulthard.
The race stewards handed Coulthard a 15-second time penalty for the contact, but took no further action on McLaughlin’s rejoin.
There was further drama on Lap 2 when David Reynolds bumped early race leader James Courtney out of the lead at Turn 4. This earned the Erebus Holden driver a five-second time penalty to be served during his pit stop.
McLaughlin held third place behind Reynolds and Courtney before moving into the lead at the end of the compulsory pit stop cycle. He was the first of the frontrunners to pit on Lap 12 and stayed ahead of Tickford Racing’s Chaz Mostert, who pitted seven laps later.
With Courtney lacking pace and Reynolds serving his penalty when he pitted on Lap 20, McLaughlin would thereby inherit the race lead.
En route to his ninth race win of the season – already equalling his tally from the entire 2018 season – McLaughlin was shadowed by Mostert, who had earlier claimed pole position in a wet/dry qualifying session. Mostert could not find a way past his fellow Mustang runner and finished 1.301 seconds behind at the end of the 40-lap race to earn his fifth podium of the season.
Jamie Whincup benefited from an ultra-early pit stop to move up to third after everyone else had pitted, but on much older tyres he was unable to keep the chasing Reynolds behind him for long. Before the end of the race, Courtney also got ahead into fourth, before the seven-time champion was demoted to sixth by his Red Bull Holden Racing teammate Shane van Gisbergen.
Coulthard recovered to finish sixteenth after his own penalty, but with McLaughlin having won the gap between the two at the top of the Drivers’ Championship standings has now extended to 232 points.
|2019 Australian Supercars Championship Truck Assist Winton SuperSprint – Race 13 Final Classification (40 laps)|
|1.||Scott McLaughlin||Shell V-Power Racing Team||54:59.990|
|2.||Chaz Mostert||Supercheap Auto Racing||+ 1.301|
|3.||David Reynolds||Penrite Racing||+ 8.949|
|4.||James Courtney||Mobil 1 MEGA Racing||+ 9.530|
|5.||Shane van Gisbergen||Red Bull Holden Racing||+ 17.212|
|6.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Holden Racing||+ 18.424|
|7.||Nick Percat||Honda Motorcycles Dealer Team||+ 21.663|
|8.||Andre Heimgartner||Plus Fitness Racing||+ 31.711|
|9.||Mark Winterbottom||Irwin Racing||+ 34.381|
|10.||Scott Pye||Mobil 1 MEGA Racing||+ 34.672|
|11.||Cameron Waters||Monster Energy Racing||+ 35.552|
|12.||Will Davison||Milwaukee Racing||+ 35.921|
|13.||Tim Slade||Freightliner Racing||+ 36.128|
|14.||Rick Kelly||Castrol Racing||+ 37.177|
|15.||Fabian Coulthard||Shell V-Power Racing Team||+ 37.576|
|16.||Macauley Jones||Team CoolDrive||+ 42.057|
|17.||James Golding||Boost Mobile Racing||+ 52.679|
|18.||Anton de Pasquale||Penrite Racing||+ 53.128|
|19.||Todd Hazelwood||Bigmate Racing||+ 53.560|
|20.||Jack Le Brocq||Truck Assist TEKNO Racing||+ 55.677|
|21.||Garry Jacobson||RABBLE.club Racing||+ 56.520|
|22.||Lee Holdsworth||The Bottle-O Racing||+ 41.636|
|23.||Simona de Silvestro||Team Harvey Norman||+ 1:12.634|
|24.||Jack Smith||SCT Logistics Racing||1 lap behind|
|25.||Richie Stanaway||Boost Mobile Racing||1 lap behind|
- Lee Holdsworth – who provisionally finished P8 – was issued two separate 15-second post-race time penalties for causing avoidable collisions with Garry Jacobson and Anton de Pasquale.
Images via DJR Team Penske and Supercars